Fear of radiation grips locals residing near Rajasthan's Rawatbhata nuclear power plant

Chittorgarh (Rajasthan), May 15(ANI): Amid fears of a Japan-like nuclear crisis, locals in Rajasthan's Chittorgarh district have expressed concerns over the impending danger due to the proximity of their homes to the Rawatbhata nuclear power plant.

Environmentalists fear that in the future heavy downpour could damage the dams and wash out the plant completely, exposing locals to harmful radiations.

The Rawatbhata nuclear power plant is built near the Maharana Pratap Dam, which the locals consider as vulnerable in wake of an occurrence of an earthquake or flood.

According to locals in case of an accident, the leaks from the reactor's core can be extremely dangerous and threatening in the surrounding community.

"If the cooling system of the nuclear reactor ever fails, the toxic elements from the plant could mix themselves in the water from the lake. This would be hazardous for the population living here and in the nearby villages. The radiation will have prolonged affects in the 16-kilometer stretch of Rawatbhata and will continue to haunt the residents of nearby villages for a long time," said Sunil Kumar, a local resident.

Meanwhile, local medical institutions say there has been a striking rise in the number of abortion and cancer cases in this region in the last few years.

Doctors attribute this condition to the increasing radiations from the nuclear plant, which is beginning to affect the overall population.

"These days a lot of diseases are caused due to radiations from power plants. The most common diseases are Bronchitis, Hypothyroid. Impotency is one of the leading problems in women due to radiations," said, Kamal Bhargava, a local physician.

A heavy water plant under the Department of Atomic Energy, is also located at Rawatbhata, for the purpose of supplying heavy water for power generation with natural uranium.

Recently, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake had severely damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan.

The plant had released large amounts of radioactive material, and the nuclear emergency level was on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, described as the world's worst ever-peacetime nuclear event.

India has 20 nuclear reactors in operation in six power plants, generating over 4,000 megawatts of electricity. (ANI)